Satan Scares Elderly Man to Death
by Elroy Willis -- November 1, 1999
BATON ROUGE (EAP) -- A Halloween church service at a local Baton Rouge church went awry yesterday when an actor hired to play the part of Satan caused two heart attacks, one of which resulted in the death of an elderly man.
Tom Kendrick, 35, a member of the Baton Rouge Theatrical Society, was hired by Leonard Scott, pastor of Hillside Baptist church, to play Satan and take part in a skit which was supposed to end with Satan being subdued by Scott.
Things took a turn for the worse when Kendrick used a small electronic device to modify his voice to sound like Darth Vader, and soon after used his fire-breathing skills to torch the pulpit.
"I was just trying to put on a good show," Kendrick said. "I was told to use whatever I could to make things as real as possible, but it seems that maybe I went too far," he said.
Gene Weatherby, 78, and James Griffin, 82, suffered heart attacks soon after the fire-breathing took place. Griffin was pronounced dead on arrival at a local emergency room, and Weatherby is listed in critical condition.
"They apparently thought that it was really Satan up there, instead of just an actor," said several members of the congregation during telephone interviews earlier this morning.
"This was a real tragedy, and I feel terrible," said Scott. "I'm sure God had good reasons for making this all happen the way it did, and I will pray for His understanding."